International News

Cardinal Parolin Calls Out EU Directive Against ‘Christmas’ Language

By Inés San Martín

ROME (Crux) — On the first Monday of Advent, it was revealed the European Union was attempting to ban the use of the word “Christmas” in an internal dossier promoting “an inclusive communication.”

The dossier recommended, among other things, to stop saying “Merry Christmas” and replace it with “Happy Holidays” and refer to the Christmas holidays as the “winter break.”

The Christmas tree sparkles after a lighting ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this Dec. 5, 2019, file photo. The Vatican said the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square this year will be made by five Andean artists from Peru. (Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

The guideline for internal use signed by the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli of Malta, was published by an Italian media outlet on Monday. Its content caused such outrage that the office had to cancel it on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Vatican’s official media outlet, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, denounced a tendency to homogenize everything, which risks “annihilating” the human person.

“I believe that the concern to cancel all discrimination is just,” Cardinal Parolin told Vatican News. ” It is a path of which we have become more aware and which naturally must be translated into practice. However, in my opinion, this is not the way to achieve this goal. Because in the end we risk destroying, annihilating the person.”

On the one hand, the differentiation that characterizes the world is canceled, he said, lamenting that the tendency is to “homogenize everything, not knowing how to respect even rightful differences, which naturally should not become a conflict or a source of discrimination, but should be integrated in order to build a full and integral humanity.”

On the other hand, he said, Europe’s roots cannot be overturned, especially with regard to Christian festivals.

“We know that Europe owes its existence and its identity to many influences, but we certainly cannot forget that one of the main influences, if not the main one, was Christianity itself,” Cardinal Parolin said. “Therefore, destroying the difference and destroying the roots means precisely to destroy the person.”

The controversial document, published Monday, also states that everyone in the EU has the right “to be treated equally” without reference to “gender, ethnicity, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation,” calling for the elimination of gender-related pronouns from official communications, replacing phrases such as “ladies and gentlemen” with “dear colleagues.”

Within the guidelines, the “correct” treatment of religions is included, emphasizing the importance of “not assuming that everyone is a Christian,” even though an estimated 80% of the population of the European Union identifies itself as Christian. For this reason, employees of the EU should no longer speak of “Christmas” but of “holidays” or “vacation days.”

Following strong criticism, the European Union’s equality office had to retract and cancel the document.

“The initiatives in the directives were intended to illustrate the diversity of European culture and show the inclusive nature of the Commission,” Dalli said on Tuesday. “However, the published version is not functional to this end. It is not a mature document and does not meet our quality standards. I therefore withdraw it and we will continue to work on this document.”